Chapter 284

A moth flying under the light slowly fell down. Like a dried-out leaf, it rose into the air with a gust of wind before falling down again on the hair of a staff member holding the camera. Even though the cameraman must have felt something landing on his head, he kept looking into the camera. The moth that had fallen on his hair, started flapping its wings again and flew upwards. Maru looked away from the moth and looked in front of him. Moonjoong finished his conversation with the director and started walking towards the cardboard scraps again. The camera, which was on rails, kept a constant distance from Moonjoong. Moonjoong, who was standing amongst scrap pieces of paper gestured that he needed more time. Maru saw the director nodding.

Will it get the okay sign this time? From what Maru saw, the director seemed satisfied with what he got. The problem was that Moonjoong wasn’t.

“Looks like it’ll take a long time today as well.”

“Well, this is not the first or second time that happened.”

“Give me a chocolate bar. I’m starting to run out of sugar.”

“It hasn’t even been that long since dinner. Why are you running out of sugar already?”

The staff started taking out their snacks and sweets. It was past 10 o’clock at night. Since the shoot started in the morning, they had been working for more than 12 hours now.

Maru grabbed the chocolate bar offered to him. It was given to him by Geunsoo.

“This should be the last time.”

“The last time of what?”

“The shooting. They’ll probably go to the next scene after this one.”

Geunsoo sounded no different from saying ‘the sun will rise in the morning’. He had that much conviction when he said those words. Just what did he base his thoughts on? Maru had a look at Moonjoong, who was around 10 meters away from him. Moonjoong was looking up at the sky with his hands behind his back, Maru couldn’t read anything from him. It wasn’t that much different to the previous four times he shot this scene.

“You’ll see,” Geunsoo said.

‘You’ll see’ - Maru nodded his head. Maybe masters had signs that only masters could recognize. As a mere mortal, he would never understand what it is no matter what he tried, so Maru decided that it would be better to keep watching. He watched Moonjoong as he rolled around the thick caramel of the chocolate bar inside his mouth.

Just then, Moonjoong raised his left hand. The director gave the staff a sign and following that, the slate made a clapping sound. The camera started rolling and Moonjoong started his act. Although Maru was quite far from the scene, he couldn’t hear Moonjoong’s voice, but the pitiful expression on his face as well as the way he walked was enough for him to understand the emotions behind his actions.

“It’s quite long.”

“This is a long take scene. It’s two whole minutes long. It makes me feel nervous just imagining that the camera will follow the back of my head for a whole two minutes,” Geunsoo looked at Maru as he said that.

“Do you even know what it feels like to act by yourself for a whole two minutes without a single cut?”

“Honestly, no. Considering the runtime of this movie, 2 minutes is definitely significant, but I don’t really understand the difficulty of filling those two minutes.”

2 minutes. In everyday life, two minutes wasn’t long at all. It was an amount of time that would pass by just gazing at the sky. However, two minutes out of 80 in a movie was a different story indeed.

“You’ll see how absurd two minutes are once you get used to shooting movies. The most scary thing is getting an NG at a minute and 58 seconds. That’s the fun part of a long take. You’ll have to start over those two minutes from the beginning. Phew, that sounds horrific.”

Geunsoo shook his head as though he was the one in front of the camera.

Maru followed Moonjoong’s back with his eyes.

Moonjoong, who was staggering, ended up leaning on a wall before collapsing down on the spot. Having fallen down, Moonjoong covered both of his eyes and started crying. The faint weeping sounds could be heard over the wind. He had curled up like someone in pain and made a disturbing vomiting sound. The neatly piled scrap papers fell over with Moonjoong’s struggles. Amidst that, Moonjoong started wiggling around. He painted a picture where the old man was crying so loud that it couldn’t be voiced through the human vocal cords, and plowed his way through in solitude. He fell, stood up, then fell again. Moonjoong acted as a man that was thoroughly collapsing from the inside out. Under the dusk, he made a path of sadness and despair until he eventually looked around. Under the faint light, Moonjoong’s expression looked complex and indescribable. His face was covered with tears, yet it looked sharp; was scary yet sad like a cracked piece of glass. He expressed the instability of his emotions while shifting between strong-minded and feeble until he suddenly picked up a small hammer amidst the pile of scrap paper. After staring at it for a while, Moonjoong raised it above his head. Pf, pf, pf. The unpaved road was dented with a deep sound. After smashing down with his hammer for a while, Moonjoong started crying again. It was a wail deep enough to put anyone listening to shivers, just like that of a wild beast.

The whispers between the staff had died down to naught. Everyone was focusing on Moonjoong. Maru could see that everyone’s eyes were following the violent smashes of the hammer. It was freakishly silent.

Amidst the silence, Moonjoong continued to act. He was sweating as though his face was sprayed with water. The hammer fell out of his shaking hands. Everything stopped as though time stopped flowing. The freaky silence continued for another three seconds before Moonjoong stood up with a long sigh. Then he stared into the main camera with emotionless eyes.

Maru, who was in Moonjoong’s line of sight, felt as though Moonjoong’s eyes were looking at him. The frightening gaze, captured on the camera, will make the audience gulp, he thought.

“Okay!”

That voice sounded more cheerful than ever. Moonjoong’s cold expression only loosened at that moment as he spat out a deep breath. One person, that seemed to be Moonjoong’s manager, quickly ran up to him and looked over his body. Everyone at the scene started applauding.

Maru did the same. The emotions he harbored deep inside him sublimed into his applause. It was a form of etiquette towards an actor that showed brilliant acting, and also an applause of self-loathing because that was the only way to evaluate such an act.

“Haha, he’s breaking the spirits of his juniors too much,” Geunsoo spoke as he applauded.

Maru could see passion in his eyes. His respect towards Moonjoong, as well as his challenging spirit had to be boiling inside him. Maru also realized that something similiar was happening inside himself as well. He started yearning for something supreme that existed beyond the horizon.

“Now that I think about it, this scene is the one right after my scene,” Maru, drenched in appreciation, suddenly came to himself and spoke.

The scene Moonjoong acted just now was the scene immediately after the elder hears harsh words from the delinquent.

“That’s because we have to shoot in an alleyway, and it would be difficult to do so if there are people passing by. That’s why most scenes are filmed during the night. It would be great if the scenes could be filmed according to the progress of the story, but reality isn’t that easy. The staff do their best to line up the order of events, but most of the time, reality doesn’t allow it. This is why there are many times where the ending is shot first then the beginning. It’s an annoying matter, but what can we do about it? That’s what being a pro is.”

“...Being an actor doesn’t sound easy.”

Moonjoong had to forget his boiling emotions and go back to being a feeble old man. It wouldn’t be easy to do so. Moonjoong returned to the camera and started monitoring the scene. It was just as Geunsoo had said. It seemed that that was the last take.

“Hey! Han Maru, you’re here!”

Hearing a voice behind him, Maru turned around. Jiseok, with a thick smile, was waving at him.

“I came here ages ago.”

“Really? Why didn’t I get to see you then?”

“Because I was with the staff.”

“Oh that’s where you were. Oh, senior Geunsoo. Hello there.”

Jiseok looked as cheerful as ever. After returning Jiseok’s greeting, Geunsoo spoke again,

“You two should rehearse together. You’ll be in the next scene after all. I’ll go ask the director something.”

Maru told Jiseok that they should switch places. They couldn’t start practicing amidst the staff members. They went back to the tree where Maru ate dinner.

“Wow, so this is what it feels like.”

Jiseok looked at the shooting location, where lights were scattering, with an excited face.

“How did you get here?”

“Me? Mom drove me here.”

“Is she still here?”

“Yeah.”

“Looks like I should greet her. Where is she?”

“She said she was tired and went to get some sleep. I told her that I can take the bus back but she was worried about me. Geez, no one can stop her,” Jiseok smiled as he said that.

“Rather than that, you didn’t call me even once, huh.”

“What am I supposed to say to someone who declared that he’d do better than me? And also, no news is good news,” Maru shrugged as he said those words.

“You have your way with words as always. Rather than that, did you see senior Moonjoong acting?”

“I did. But I probably shouldn’t have. My confidence is hitting rock bottom right now.”

“Me too. You definitely feel that he’s on another level, don’t you?”

“He is on a different level. Now I feel how pressuring it must be to be on the same scene as him.”

Maru opened the script in his hand. He only had two lines. The direction of the movie was simple. He would approach Moonjoong, who was lying down on a bench, drunk, and steal his wallet. While he did so, Moonjoong would wake up and he would just say his two lines. That was it. Once he left the frame, the delinquent would no longer appear again in the movie.

“That’s why we must do well,” Jiseok said as he pointed at the script.

“When I had a look at it, I discovered that we were chatting to each other, what do you think we should talk about?”

“Let’s talk about how we stole a motorcycle.”

“Do you have experience stealing a motorcycle?” Jiseok widened his eyes as he asked.

Maru hit the back of Jiseok’s neck.

“If the director doesn’t have anything in mind for us, then I’ll just say that I stole a motorcycle because I was pissed while doing a delivery job. You can take care of the rest.”

“Let’s make it so that we’re going to Haeundae[1] to pick up some girls.”

“That’s good. It sounds like what an immature kid would say.”

“And it also sounds like what a delinquent would do.”

“Before we go on set, let’s make the lines. It’ll be impossible for us to make one up on the spot.”

Maru started writing the lines with the pen he stuck inside the script. The original novel mentioned nothing about the delinquent’s age, so Maru decided that they were around high school age since both he and Jiseok were in high school. The general character buildup was that of a moderately violent, restriction-hating, debauchery student.

“The delinquent probes around the elder’s body looking for a wallet. Getting the wallet in his hands, he raises it in the air and starts smirking. The smirk has a hint of childishness in it. At that moment, the elder wakes up. He looks at the delinquents around him and mistakes them for people that came to help him. He starts smiling. He feels that the world was still warm.”

Jiseok read the text out loud.

Maru had read over that bit several times in the past, yet the words felt incredibly unfamiliar to him today. An ominous thought that he might end up making a mistake flashed through his mind.

“Wow, I’m getting nervous.”

Jiseok started hopping on the spot. He looked different from usual. It seemed like even he could get nervous.

“It’s even more unnerving because it’s short. This is crazy.”

“Stop saying nervous. You’re ticking me off.”

“How else am I supposed to put it? Maru, do you have any calming pills with you? I heard that those work pretty well.”

“You’re young so you don’t need any of that. Rather than that, let’s try going through it. We should rehearse it even if it’s by ourselves.”

“Yeah, let’s do that.”

The scene was very short, but conversely, everything had to be compacted into that short moment. It was only a single scene in the movie, but it was the moment that changed the flow of the movie, so he didn’t want to hear that he did a bad job.

He might not receive any applause, but he didn’t want to drag everyone down either.

Not the best he could do, but the best possible.

“I wish we could get an okay sign on the first run,” Jiseok spoke just then.

“They say you shouldn’t dream of the impossible. Let’s think about this realistically, yeah?”

“Then how many times?”

“Let’s end it within five tries.”

“That’s pretty unrealistic as well.”

Just as they were drawing the picture inside their heads according to the script, the film set started becoming busy again. Some of the equipment was being reset. Geunsoo, who was talking to the director, came back to them and said,

“You ready, little ducklings?”


[1] Famous beach in Busan

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KTLChamber's Thoughts

NOPE, another cliffhanger for you all!